Photos by John Penley, background by Able Allen
On Saturday morning, April 2, local supporters of House Bill 2 demonstrated under the Vance Monument to show appreciation for the law. The supporters also expressed the view that allowing people to use a bathroom other than the one that corresponds to the sex listed on their birth certificate is dangerous to the public.
In opposition, a larger complement of LGBTQ activists and allies showed up to protest the law, also called the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. Less than two weeks ago, the bill passed in an emergency session of the North Carolina legislature; it was enacted to block a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender individuals to use public restrooms marked for the gender they identify as.
Controversy has raged since the law was hurriedly introduced and passed. Governor Pat McCrory, who supported the new state law rather than vetoing it, has received criticism, as has North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (McCrory’s Democratic rival in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election), whom the right is attacking for not taking legal action against the Charlotte measure.
The two groups who gathered Saturday expressed their views peacefully but passionately with signs and banners. Those against the law see the issue as a civil rights battle and espouse the importance of recognizing people as the gender they say they are and treating them accordingly. Meanwhile, HB2 supporters say the law protects women and children. In their view, allowing people identified as male on their birth certificates to use bathrooms intended for women presents a threat to women. Demonstrators unfurled a large banner with mugshots of allegedly transgender individuals.